What you need to know about the new Special Operations Command Centre

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04 Dec 2019 | OPS & TRAINING

What you need to know about the new Special Operations Command Centre

Mission planners can now coordinate multiple counter-terrorism operations across the country from a centralised command centre.

// Story Koh Eng Beng

// Photos Kenneth Lin

English 华文

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has a new war room.

Located in Hendon Camp, the new Special Operations Command Centre (SOCC) will let planners from the Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) swiftly plan, coordinate, monitor and manage counter-terrorism operations.

In case you didn't know, the SOTF comprises elite soldiers from the Army's Commandos and the Navy's Naval Diving Unit. They can tap on assets from across the SAF for complex missions such as neutralising terrorists and hostage rescue.

Here's how the SOCC enhances the SOTF's operational capabilities:

The SOCC allows SOTF planners to plan and coordinate operations across Singapore from a centralised location.

1. Faster response

In the past, SOTF planners had to spend time setting up a mobile command centre near the incident site. This is no longer the case today with the SOCC, which is a permanent command centre located in Hendon Camp.

The Rapide-i4 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) used by the SOTF for surveillance can be connected to the SOCC.

2. Comprehensive intelligence

The SOCC can receive live images and videos from multiple locations to allow the mission planners to assess the ground situation in real-time.

Furthermore, its enhanced Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) systems can process information from multiple sources to create an overall situational picture. 

These sources include sensors from the Ministry of Home Affairs and other government agencies, operations centres across the SAF, as well as surveillance assets such as drones.

The setup allows seamless information-sharing between the SOTF and other government agencies, and thus helps to strengthen cooperation during joint operations.

3. Faster analysis, better decisions

The SOCC taps on technology such as data analytics and artificial intelligence to collate, fuse and analyse information from various sources. This smart platform suite, which is jointly developed by the SAF and the Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA), helps SOTF planners to quickly make sense of the information and make better decisions.

An SOTF trooper taking down a "gunman" in a cinema during an islandwide counter-terrorism exercise held in 2016.

4. Boost combat effectiveness

The SOCC can then share the collated intelligence data with elements on the ground. Armed with a better situational picture, SOTF troopers on the ground can better carry out their missions with greater effectiveness.

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"To respond to this growing threat, our Commandos too must evolve their strategies, capabilities and tactic.

"The inauguration of the Special Operations Task Force’s Special Operations Command Centre represents an important step in the Commandos’ response to present-day security threats." – said Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (2nd from left) at the commissioning of the SOCC on 4 Dec.

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"The SOCC is a smart, networked counter-terrorism (CT) command centre, which allows us to plan, coordinate and execute multiple CT operations in various areas within Singapore.

"We leveraged unmanned systems, artificial intelligence and data analytics to deal with the ever-changing terrorist threats. This allows the SOTF to see better, act faster and to be more effective, surgical and lethal." – Colonel Kenny Tay, 47, Chief Commando Officer and Commander SOTF

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"We use data sourced from different assets and platforms to give the commanders a comprehensive situational picture. At the same time, we harness data analytics (to) give them key insights, to enable them to make more well-informed decisions.

"For example, we can harness data from drones to determine the best approach to an incident site. In summary, commanders can now command and control multiple operations from a single location." – Mr Ng Wee Kwang, 44, Programme Manager (National Security), DSTA

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